The Fire is Matt Cardle’s sophomore album, after winning the X Factor in 2010. His first album, Letters, received mixed to negative reviews, and although it was certified gold, it wasn’t a huge commercial success. The Fire sees Cardle seize far more creative control, co-writing all but one of the songs and being credited as producer of the LP. I was feeling positive about what these differences to Letters would bring; but the record dissapointed.
Honestly, most of the album is very dull. Each song blurs into the next with very few stand out songs. Opening track and current single ‘It’s Only Love’ tries it’s best to big a huge power ballad; but the track fails to pick up and starts the monotony which is the entire album. Why pick this one as the lead single? It isn’t particularly catchy and is full of clumsy instrumentation.
The album then passes through the too string-heavy ‘The Fire’ and then to ‘For Every Heartbreak’. ‘For Every Heartbreak’ is arguably one of the high points of the album. It has a catchy chorus and will no doubt be the next single. The brief high point is brought way down by what follows.
Soppy ballad ‘Water’ is overly produced, leading to Cardle’s voice sounding like he was just whining over some synthesised noises. It is every cliched ballad in one, with lyrics like “water, water, tear drops falling like rain” and weird glockenspiel noises, it’s a track I could really have done without.
The album passes through several more Snow Patrol tribute songs leading to the best track on the album ‘Empire’. ‘Empire’ is what the whole album should be like. It’s catchy, full of great harmonies and great instrumental lines. If all the songs had been written like this, the album could be great. From the highpoint of Empire we get another whiny ballad (All That Matters) and another song which probably got thrown on as they didn’t have enough material. Then comes the album closer.
The album finishes with a cover of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, a song Matt infamously sang on the X Factor. The cover is obviously meant to be emotional, but just ended up boring. I really don’t understand why they decided to put a cover on a 10 track album; maybe to get the interest of Matt’s old Xfactor fans back, but it adds nothing to the overall album and left me feeling bored.
The whole album is Cardle’s attempt to go in a more rock orientated direction; however it really isn’t working for him. No amount of drum fills and guitar riffs can hide the overly edited voice and whiny lyrics. It’s a shame as tracks like ‘Empire’ show what he’s capable of, but then he ruins this with an album of mediocre power ballads. No doubt Matt’s loyal army of followers will buy the album; but he won’t be winning any new fans.
The Fire is due to be released on October 29th.